The latest issue of Edge Magazine has the full scoop on Max Payne 3, Rockstar Vancouver’s 2009-announced sequel that went silent that same year. While not in development at its original studio, Remedy Entertainment, Rockstar Vancouver assures fans that its “been involved with Max since the beginning” and that they’re not “picking up this franchise fresh”. Max Payne 3 is a continuation of the series, and Rockstar Vancouver has recruited help from its Toronto, London, and New England studios in creating it.
“We love Max and we want to continue to do right by him,” said Max Payne 3 Art Director Rob Nelson. “That’s the biggest challenge for us: the decisions we come to have to make sense for him.”
Max Payne 3 is set eight years after the events of Max Payne 2, where Payne is done working with the New York City Police Department has now found himself working for rich clients as a private security contractor in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Edge was shown a demo where the wife of Payne client Rodrigo Branco’s wife is kidnapped by the Commando Sombre street gang, and Payne must deliver the ransom to get her back. In the mission, Payne has a full head of hair. According to Nelson, the game is “always playing with time in the story,” going ‘backwards and forwards” using “aggressive editing”.
Payne meets with the gang in a football stadium to exchange the ransom for Rodrigo’s wife. Shots are fired and Payne is struck, which is when his health icon in the bottom right of the screen goes low and needs to be restored by popping pills.
The story of Max Payne 3 is told using the in-game engine, rather than the comic book frames of the previous entries. Nelson says they’re “integrating storytelling into the gameplay itself through the use of huundreds of customized animations for multiple characters and situations”. They’re also bringing back Max’s “classic narration,” which they believe “adds to the atmosphere of the game.” Rockstar’s goal in storytelling is for people to “move seamlessely from cutscene to gameplay without pauses in the flow or big breaks in the overall look and feel”.
Edge goes on to describe the mission shown to them. It features Max making his way through the stadium, through broadcast rooms and snipers. Max, himself, is equipped with a “high -powered rifle”. According to the mag, the game doesn’t feel like your “standard corridor shooter”; they describe each encounter as “specifically staged” and say they “work within the context of the environment and the story.”
“The action never really stops, it never lets you go,” said Nelson.
The action is “fast and brutal,” says the mag, filled with “glass smashes, blood spurts, [and] furniture collapses”. Bullet-cam, which follows gunshots to their targets, is back with higher meaning. It provides a “bloody full-stop to every encounter”. Shoot-dodge, which allows Payne to launch himself out of the line of gun fire, is also back. He can dive in any direction he desires and reacts to the environment once he lands, going as far as to “thrust out a hand or shoulder to absorb the impact”.
Max Payne 3‘s cover system is activated with the left trigger, which sticks Payne to a scenic object. The right trigger allows him to pop out and shoot. Payne can blind fire by releasing the left trigger, aiming with the right stick.
Like Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemptionbefore it, Max Payne 3 uses the NaturalMotion Euphoria physics engine. Rockstar is always “thinking about how we can push NaturualMotion in new directions”. In Max Payne 3, they’ve “put a lot of attention on AI reactions, making sure that the force of the bullet feels right”. Enemies will even duck for near-misses.
As for Payne’s arsenal, he’ll be wielding pistons, rifles, sub-machine guns, sniper rifles and more. A wheel-based selection system allows him to carry and select between three weapons at once. He can use two single-handed weapons to dual-wield. Edge notes an “almost sensual attention to detail” when Payne fires.
Max Payne was forced out of New York, which is how he ended up in Brazil. When we actually play the game, we’ll find out why. Payne will work with and protect more than persons than just Rodrigo during the course of the game, putting personal relationships at its core.
Aside from story, Max Payne 3 will also feature an online multiplayer mode. The magazine doesn’t go into detail.
Still no release date. As an extra tidbit, James McCaffrey, the voice of Max Payne in the first two games, will return for Max Payne 3.